Tired Of Hangovers? There’s A New Antidote To Alcohol And This Visionary Young Entrepreneur Wants To Help You Understand How To Use It

Tired Of Hangovers? There’s A New Antidote To Alcohol And This Visionary Young Entrepreneur Wants To Help You Understand How To Use It
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<p>Brooks Powell,<strong> </strong>Founder, Thrive+ Health Inc.</p>

Brooks Powell, Founder, Thrive+ Health Inc.

Nearly 60% of Americans consume alcohol at least once a month, and annually, alcohol sales total $223.2 billion in 2016. No matter how you look at it or what you think about it, Americans are drinking. And they are not alone. In fact, the United States ranks number 48 worldwide for alcohol consumption per capita. That’s a lot of hangovers

Not long ago I had the opportunity of sitting down with Brooks Powell, a recent Princeton graduate and the founder of a startup called Thrive+ Health. Somewhere between a bio-tech firm and a CPG startup Thrive+ Health is focused exclusively on what Brooks describes as “alcohol-related health.” They design and sell products designed to reduce the negative effects of alcohol. I asked this enterprising Princetonian, who has built what is already a multi-million dollar company by the age of 24, to share some of his insights into entrepreneurship.

Steve Mariotti: What inspired you to start Thrive+®?

Brooks Powell: Alcohol is by far the most widely used drug in the world. The majority of people throughout history and in the present day society consume alcohol regularly.

The idea that we have the chance to lessen the negative effects of alcohol, the most used drug in the world, is as fascinating as it is humbling. We couldn’t be more excited about the space we’re in. We’re trying to celebrate the good of alcohol while simultaneously mitigating its bad.

SM: You’ve received a lot of pushback from people saying that alcohol’s negative health effects and hangovers are reasons that people should stop drinking and that by mitigating alcohol’s negative effects takes away someone’s reason to quit drinking. What do you think about this argument?

BP: I can totally understand where people are coming from when they say this. It makes sense as alcohol is not only the most used drug in the world, but it is also the most abused drug in the world. However, I think the position is misguided through their belief that alcohol’s negative effects are strong enough reasons to prevent people from consuming it.

The US CDC estimates that the US economy loses over $179 billion dollars each year from alcohol’s negative effects on next-day workplace productivity, and $28 billion in alcohol-induced healthcare costs. If hangovers and negative health effects are such a compelling reason to prevent alcohol consumption, then why is it not convincing people not to drink? If you will remember, our country even made alcohol consumption against the law for a period of time—and despite hangovers, potential health risks, and the likelihood of getting thrown in jail for consuming it… prohibition was a complete disaster and was only effective in creating organized crime—not preventing alcohol’s negative effects.

Cars are extremely unsafe and too much time in the sun will damage and burn your skin. But –like consuming alcohol – people will do these activities regardless. So why not use seatbelts and sunscreen to lessen your risks and negative health effects? I don’t see how using Thrive+® like sunscreen for alcohol is any different.

SM: How does it work to reduce alcohol’s negative effects?

BP: We have two products, Thrive+® After-Alcohol Aid™ and Thrive+® ORS™. After-Alcohol Aid™ comes in capsule form and you simply take 2-4 capsules after your last alcoholic beverage or before going to bed. ORS™ is a powdered drink mix that you mix with water and drink along with the capsules.

While After-Alcohol Aid™ has about 7 different ingredients to counteract each of alcohol’s negative effects, for brevity I’ll just explain 2 of them. After-Alcohol Aid™ contains a chemical compound called Dihydromyricetin (DHM) that made its debut in the US recently through an article published in the Journal of Neuroscience called “Dihydromyricetin As a Novel Anti-Alcohol Intoxication Medication.” Extracting the DHM compound out of the Hovenia Dulcis plant (a tea often consumed in Asian countries following alcohol consumption) through a process that is similar to the way that caffeine can be extracted from coffee, the researchers found that DHM prevented alcohol addiction in genetically predisposed rats, cured alcoholism among alcoholic rats, and prevented signs of next-day hangovers.

The way DHM works is by binding to the same brain receptor that alcohol binds to, and by doing so reduces short-term alcohol withdrawal, arguably the primary reason you don’t feel good the day following alcohol consumption. Proven in rats, DHM theoretically could reduce a development of tolerance and dependence to alcohol.

After-Alcohol Aid™’s other main ingredient is N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). Generally, men can metabolize 3 drinks of alcohol and then a drink of alcohol every hour thereafter—women metabolize about half of that. NAC is the precursor to what your liver needs to break down alcohol and its other toxic by-products.

In a study published within our now granted patent, US 9,603,830 B2: “Compositions and methods for preventing and recovery from detrimental effects of alcohol consumption” (granted in May 2017), users of After-Alcohol Aid™ alone reported 50 percentage point reductions in next-day symptoms. Additionally, various ingredients in Thrive+®’s formula have been shown to mitigate liver injury in both human and animal studies, and we’re hoping to conduct these similar studies on Thrive+®’s solutions as well.

Our ORS™ product, which is short for “oral rehydration solution”, is based on a formula developed by the World Health Organization which was shown to rehydrate as effectively as an IV bag. It contains a precise formula designed to take advantage of the sodium-glucose co-transport system for rapid rehydration.

After-Alcohol Aid™ is our main product and ORS™ is sort of its side-kick. If you were only to take one product, you’d take After-Alcohol Aid™. However, taken together, After-Alcohol Aid™ and ORS™ make an unbeatable solution for alcohol’s negative effects.

SM: What’s your vision for Thrive+®?

BP: We want to be like sunscreen but for alcohol. If you think about it and try to imagine the time before sunscreen was invented, the idea that you could spray a clear liquid on your skin to reduce the sun’s harmful effects is an invention that’s too hard to believe. In my opinion, taking a pill and drink mix to reduce alcohol’s negative effects seems far more believable than sunscreen would have been!

SM: Is is safe?

BP: Absolutely. In fact, we were considering taking an equity deal from Princeton—which like most universities, is extremely risk-adverse and conservative with its investments. Those tasked with doing the due diligence on Thrive+® only had one concern, which was DHM as our other ingredients had a long history of usage. An expert toxicologist reviewed DHM and our formula’s safety and it was determined to be extremely safe and passed the stringent amount of due diligence. In fact, Thrive+®’s products had a margin of safety multiple times larger than most over the counter drugs that Americans use daily.

SM: What’s your advice to other entrepreneurs?

BP: My advice is to take people’s skepticism in your idea seriously, but that when data and evidence are on your side, that you should stick to your guns despite other people’s well-intentioned but uninformed opinions.

When I was starting Thrive+ Health, everyone told me “there’s no way you have found some miracle antidote to alcohol—the pharma companies would have found one a long time ago.” If I hadn’t have had an extremely strong grasp on the entire body of literature surrounding alcohol’s effects on the brain and body, as well as compounds and ingredients that might mitigate them, thus really knowing the entire corpus of academic literature that is published about this topic, I likely would have doubted myself and not pursued developing the Thrive+® brand.

However, fast forward to present day, we have a granted patent, an efficacy study, a safety study, two Princeton bio-tech professors on our board of advisors that have had major pharmaceutical companies like Merck as clients, and have really become the thought leader in pioneering this novel category of which I am calling “alcohol-related health.”

It’s amazing how much a little success changes people’s attitudes. That’s why most people can’t be entrepreneurs; they can’t understand that the people who build great businesses and develop paradigm changing innovations are the ones who intentionally pursued something before it was obvious to others that the idea could work.

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